SE0328 : Memorial to orphan children

taken 7 years ago, near to Wainstalls, Calderdale, Great Britain

Memorial to orphan children
Memorial to orphan children
Having searched the graveyard for this memorial I spotted it as I walked back along the road, eastwards from the gate. It is inscribed with list of orphan children employed by I & I Calvert, Wainstalls (presumably at the textile mill). They all died young, but whether due to harsh working conditions I do not know. The three dates shown are in the 1890s.

The following, by Issy Shannon, is from 'Milltown Memories':

"A moss-covered headstone in Luddenden Dean Wesleyan Church graveyard is the only testament to one of the saddest - and most shameful - episodes in local history.

It bears the names of seven girls, the eldest 17 the youngest only 12, employed at Wainstalls Mill at the end of the 19th century. They were among 100 children - many orphans, foundlings, waifs and strays from industrial schools - brought to the upper Calder Valley from Liverpool at the end of the 19th century.

In effect the children were little more than slaves, recruited by textile firm I. And C. Calvert as the answer to a severe labour shortage. They worked long hours in the mill in return for which they were fed, clothed and housed, receiving no wages, just a few pennies a week pocket money.

As late as the 1960s they were still part of living history: the last survivor was Miss Lizzie McGowan, who died aged 88 in 1966, remembered by local people as "a cheerful, friendly soul, who made a good life despite her early difficulties."

The first children arrived in 1879, some as young as 12 or 13 years old. Their feelings on being uprooted from friends and family to be transported across the Pennines to what must have seemed like a foreign country can be well imagined.

Nowadays we would regard the actions of Calvert's management as child exploitation but there is nothing on record to indicate that the company ever regarded their actions as anything other than acceptable business practice. In fact, they regarded it as a praiseworthy act of philanthropy."
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SE0328, 46 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Monday, 17 November, 2014   (more nearby)
Thursday, 20 November, 2014
Geographical Context
Lowlands  Village, Rural settlement  Religious sites 
Primary Subject of Photo
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SE 0301 2863 [10m precision]
WGS84: 53:45.2416N 1:57.3498W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SE 0301 2863
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Northeast (about 45 degrees)
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Grave Stone 

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